Rev Pro’s road to High Stakes continued as we’d see who’d get a Raw Deal in Stevenage.
The Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage looks packed as Gideon Grey shadows Gio Lombardo to the ring. There’s a shadow I bet Gio didn’t want… Gideon’s happy to be in Stevenage, as he makes some changes to the card… they don’t wanna hang around too long, and quite right too. Stevenage’s train station is an absolute mare right now…
Andy Quildan and Andy Boy Simmonz are on commentary.
RevPro Undisputed British Tag Team Championship: The Legion (Rampage Brown & Great O-Kharn) (c) vs. The NIC (Charlie Carter & Oisin Delaney)
The NIC have had a few shots in Rev Pro, but given how this match was announced, something tells me this match might have been meant for a pretty deadly duo…
We start with a tie-up as Delaney’s taken into the corner by Brown, before a dropkick got him free as Carter’s attempts at double-teaming only got the NIC a one-count. Rampage throws an elbow, then tags in O-Kharn, who took a clothesline off the top from Carter for a near-fall. The champions take over, charging Carter into their corner before an abdominal stretch from O-Kharn served to annoy more than anything else.
Carter’s taken down with a Skull Crushing Finale for a one-count, but Delaney’s back in to throw some clotheslines at Rampage… only to get scoop slammed. O-Kharn’s back too dump Delaney with Mongolian chops, then to sit on him in the corner as we were right in the Legion’s usual playbook. Delaney gets free out of desperation as Charlie Carter tried to clear house, taking down Rampage for a near-fall as the challengers almost did the upset.
A distraction from Gideon Grey catches out Carter, but he’s able to hit almost a Diamond Dust out of the corner before Delaney’s top rope elbow drew a two-count. Carter’s missile dropkick stops the champions from hitting Deep Wounds, before a suplex-powerbomb on Rampage – the Black Flag – ends up getting the win! Or did it? Rampage had his foot on the rope… and the referee’s forced to wave it off as the ring announcer was mid-sentence. So we have a restart, but O-Kharn dumps Delaney with an Iron Finger Slam before Deep Wounds waited for Carter, and that’s the win. Well, it showed some vulnerability for the champions, after a decent enough opener – one that got the crowd going, despite their relative lack of familiarity with everyone on hand. ***¼
I swear I heard someone on commentary say “who have I got left?”…
Hikuleo vs. Shota Umino
This was only their second ever singles match, with the last one coming at Uprising in December. I genuinely thought they’d tangled at least a few times as singles in Japan…
There’s still something rather unsettling about Shota carrying Jon Moxley’s denim jacket with him. For some reason someone’s chanting for Alex Gracie. He’s having issues adjusting…
We start with a tie-up into the ropes, with Hikuleo of course cheapshotting Umino with a chop. Shota’s taken into the corner, as Hikuleo shoves away the ref… and this time it’s not an insta-DQ. A pair of low dropkicks gets Hikuleo down for just a one-count, before they ended up on the outside, as Hikuleo played the crowd like a fiddle. Umino’s taken into the seating decks for more brawling, as we eventually get a ten-count started… which prompts Hikuleo to charge Shota into the ring post as he was in search of the count-out. Except he rolls Shota in to pick up a two-count…
Eventually Shota tried to fight back, but he went for a slam and had Hikuleo fall on him for a two-count. The beating continues from Hikuleo, with a suplex landing for a two-count, before Shota hit back, finally landing a slam for a near-fall. Umino tees up for something, but Hikuleo elbows away, then avoids a dropkick as a clothesline took Shota down for a near-fall. Umino fights out of a Gun Slinger, then dropkicked Hikuleo in the ropes before another neckbreaker dropped the big lad for a near-fall. A ripcorded boot, then a diving knee followed, before a Death Rider’s escaped. Back-and-forth shots follow before a bridging German suplex led to a near-fall. Hikuleo’s right back with a scoop slam, then a Tongan Driller, but Shota’s up at two as he then had to fight out of a Gun Slinger before rolling up Hikuleo for the pin. I tell you what, Shota’s connecting a lot more on these “casual” crowds than I expected – and beating a monster like Hikuleo will serve him well. ***
Kenneth Halfpenny & Shaun Jackson vs. Brendan White & JJ Gale
A rematch from Huntingdon last week, where Brendan White got killed with a Doomsday Destroyer.
Jackson and White start, as they’re continuing to talk up ill-feeling between White and Halfpenny. Or “Halfhead”, as the banter went due to the match graphics. White grabs onto a side headlock, but he’s shoved off as Jackson went for the double leapfrog… which is stopped as White hits his shoulder charge anyway. A suplex is next for a near-fall, before Gale tagged in and hit a springboard Blockbuster as Jackson was held up for a Hart Attack… and man, these contenders aren’t exactly following the Young Lion route of limited movesets… A crucifix roll-up from Gale gets a near-fall, as does a pair of roll-ups, before Halfpenny tagged in… and was taken down with a drop toe hold. Halfpenny gets free and throws in a snapmare, before a hiptoss attempt gets countered into a monkey flip for a near-fall. The wacky double-teams resume as a Head Hunter neckbreaker drops Gale onto Shaun Jackson’s knees, as the “established team” began to find their groove.
Jackson’s stalling suplex gets a two-count, before a second one was slipped out of by Gale, who dove away to tag in White, who was a house afire. There’s a big back body drop from White, dumping Halfpenny onto Jackson before an ushigoroshi dropped Jackson ahead of a springboard moonsault. A dropkick from Jackson catches White off-guard, as frequent tags kept Brendan isolated for a while. Halfpenny’s neck crank gives White something to fight out of, but it seemed like White was starting to make some headway – even if he remained on the defensive.
A back body drop lifts Halfpenny all the way to the floor, but he manages to pull Gale off the apron to stop a tag out from being made. White fights back as he’s double-teamed, but the numbers game pays off as a Hart Attack/Head Hunter combo almost put him away. Another back body drop gets White free from Jackson before eventually making the tag to Gale, who flew in with a Whisper in the Wind as Halfpenny and Jackson stayed in the ring.
Gale sidesteps a springboard splash as Halfpenny tries to break up a pin, and followed that up with a springboard moonsault for a near-fall on Jackson. Halfpenny grabs onto Gale’s leg to distract… and it gave Jackson time to take Gale down. A crucifix bomb/uppercut combo followed for a near-fall as Halfpenny began to frustrate again… even more so when Gale fought free to bring White back in. Halfpenny and Jackson tease another Doomsday Destroyer, but Gale dropkicks Jackson in the back…and almost sent his own partner crashing to the floor as well. He recovered though, as White superplexed Halfpenny before almost losing to a Fisherman suplex as we entered the final five minutes… where Halfpenny dumps Gale with a fallaway slam, before White hits a backbreaker and a Block Home Slam to put away Jackson. Lovely stuff here, with these two contenders teams almost going the distance… and again, I’m impressed with this crowd latching on to them. A cracking little feud continues, eh? ***½
Chris Brookes vs. Kyle Fletcher
Brookes has been away for so long that Andy’s lost the vape/Awadama Fever remix! This was touted as perhaps a farewell, even though Brookes is on the York Hall card for High Stakes. Also, IT’S BLOODY LYKOS. Spelled with a K, not the old search engine.
We finally get going with Fletcher and Brookes swapping wristlocks before a side headlock from Kyle ended up in the corner for a clean break. Brookes goes back in with an armbar, then a side headlock of his own as Andy Q extolled the virtues of wrestlers improving by being able to wrestle regularly “with no restrictions”.
Kid Lykos gets involved, tripping Fletcher before celebrating in front of the ref… and that earns the wolf a scolding. Hey, why not play to the crowd you’re in front of? Lykos skulks away, but comes back to attack when Kyle got thrown outside as Brookes distracted the referee with a fake injury. Lykos managed to find Gideon Grey’s cane to choke Kyle with… something about a dog and a stick, eh? With Kyle back inside, Brookes rolls him down for a knee drop, before Fletcher eventually caught Lykos on the outside. He avoided Brookes’ charge at him, then rushed back inside for a tope before a suplex earned a two-count. A back senton from Brookes gets him back in it, before he teased a Praying Mantis Bomb… but Fletcher sandbags and rolled in for a Ligerbomb for a near-fall. Forearms and chops get exchanged from there, before Brookes replied to a superkick with an Octopus stretch. Fletcher’s dragged to the mat, but he powers back up into a Fireman’s carry as he dumps Brookes with a death valley driver.
Fletcher pushes on with a brainbuster for a near-fall, before Lykos provided another distraction… which worked as Brookes punted Fletcher low, before the Lykos baking tray and a Praying Mantis bomb drew a near-fall. More Lykos distractions are pushed away as Fletcher fought back with a Grimstone… and that’s enough for the win. A good win for Fletcher, as it seemed that Chris Brookes went out with a loss. ***½
Michael Oku vs. Robbie X vs. Ricky Knight Jr.
Christ, Rev Pro are loving this combination aren’t they? It’s more than teasing the cruiserweight title unification down the line… assuming Oku beats ELP at High Stakes, that is.
We start with Robbie X looking for an X-Clamation early on, but instead we get a series of roll-ups on the way to a stand-off. Oku sent RKJ to the outside, then began to work over Robbie with a ‘rana, following up with a dropkick as Knight returned for an eventual dropkick of his own. And breathe. Robbie X slides back in as the revolving door broke out, leading to Oku flying in with a missile dropkick as Robbie looked for the X-Clamation. A half crab’s broken up when Oku’s thrown outside, before RKJ hit a springboard enziguiri to Robbie X as the pace finally abated. Oku’s back to turn a superplex into a tower of doom… but RKJ blocks it so he can catch Oku with a knee ahead of a stacked-up Samoan drop.
RKJ responds with a rear spin kick, but Oku breaks up the cover with a frog splash, before a springboard moonsault left Robbie X laying. A Fosbury flop keeps RKJ on the outside, with a second frog splash almost getting Oku the win. After RKJ spilled off the apron, Robbie went for a superplex on Oku… but RKJ’s back to set it off with a sunset bomb as we finally got the Tower of Doom. Ish. Things break down into a strike exchange as all three men were in the ring… but a handspring enziguiri from Robbie clears a way… as did a Destroyer on Oku. RKJ throws one to Robbie for the hell of it, before Oku completes the set, before he shrugged off some offence from Robbie to catch him with a misdirection knee. Another moonsault from Oku’s kicked away as the pace again increased, leading to Robbier X spiking RKJ with an X-Clamation for the win. This started and finished hot – and it’s telling that while these guys are trading wins among them, Robbie X seems to be on course to unseat RKJ at York Hall. ***½
Gisele Shaw vs. Taya Valkyrie
Shaw’s got another shot at Zoe Lucas at York Hall – so this is a heck fo a tune-up match for her.
Valkyrie’s the early aggressor, stomping on Shaw’s back during a dropdown attempt, but the top contender’s back in with a floatover from the apron ahead of a springboard ‘rana. A Dragon suplex has Valkyrie rolling outside, where she hung up Shaw in the ropes… then wrapped her arm around the ring post. Valkyrie throws Shaw’s arm into the ring post, then into the apron, before they went back into the ring for just a one-count. A kick drops Shaw, with Taya following in with an overhead wristlock as she tried to wear down her foe. Shaw’s able to reply with a crossbody, but can’t build on it immediately, as she had to wait a while before a roundhouse enziguiri finally took down the Impact star.
Shaw manages to build with a neck flip for a near-fall, but an armbar attempt’s escaped as Valkyrie slips free and comes back with a Northern Lights suplex. Another stomp’s good for a two-count, but Shaw’s right back in with a springboard cutter… only for Valkyrie to come back with a pop-up knee and a Bubba bomb. Taya tries to get a win with an armbar of her own, buit Shaw’s able to roll free and apply her own levering armbar for the submission. This was fine, but a lot of the crowd seemed to just glaze over here. **¼
After the match, Zoe Lucas hit the ring and laid out Shaw with her title belt.
Dan Moloney vs. Rhyno
It’s back to back Raw Deal main events for Dan Moloney – last year he unsuccessfully challenged Rob Lynch in what some called “a match”. It’s been a long while since Rhino/Rhyno was in the UK away from WWE – and shockingly, he’s faced Dan before, back in 2015 for Kamikaze Pro.
Needless to say, Rhyno played very well with the casual-heavy Stevenage crowd, getting chants of ECW. In 2020. The early going’s a little testy, as they looked to wear each other down, but a shoulder tackle from Moloney had no effect as he just bounced off of Rhyno. Then again, before landing a dropkick that prompted Rhyno to bulldoze through him. Moloney had more luck with some right hand, only to get taken out with a hiptoss… then bailed to the outside to avoid a gore. The crowd didn’t like that…
Rhyno follows him outside as we had some brawling around the front row. Out comes a chair, but referee Oscar Harding disarms him… so the pair brawl into the seating decks where Rhyno put a Sin Cara mask on Moloney just so he could punch it off of him. Chops follow, including some from the crowd. Back near the ring, Rhyno lands a suplex on the floor, before Moloney accidentally chopped the ring post. He recovers back in the ring though, as he picked up some near-falls as that kid kept screaming for Rhyno to kick Dan. Moloney locks in a chinlock to keep Rhyno down, but Rhyno fights out and charges in with clotheslines and elbows, before a belly-to-belly dropped Dan for a two-count.
Moloney tries to retaliate with clotheslines, but Rhyno again doesn’t budge until he was caught with a ripcord Black Hole slam that gave us a near-fall… and some parenting over the camera mics. Dan calls for a Drilla, but Rhyno’s too big… so Moloney instead hits a spear for a near fall. Stevenage wouldn’t have liked Rhyno losing to his own move! We get a ref bump as Rhyno directs a charging Moloney into the corner. Rhyno tries to capitalise, but is met with a Sick Kick from Moloney before Dan went outside for that chair. He finds it, but misses as Rhyno caught him with a gore… just in time for referee #2 Rich Swift to count a near-fall from it! In the end, Moloney wins with a roll-up, to bring a bruising main event to an end… although I do sense that Stevenage would have been happier had it been a Rhyno win. ***¼
Post-match, Hikuleo comes out and attacks Moloney from behind… picking up their ongoing feud. Rhyno breaks it up, but Hikuleo lays into him too before going back for Dan with a Tongan Driller… only for Moloney to slip out and push Hikuleo into the path of a Gore as everyone went home happy. Almost everyone, at least…
For me, this was perhaps the best show Rev Pro’s done yet in a “former Southside town”. Buoyed by a crowd of around 700 that were receptive to almost everything that was on show here. Stevenage was one of the towns that people were tagging as being a priority following that merger – and while the “Southside influence” of imports were kept to just the two, the crowd on hand didn’t seem to mind. Sure, a lot of the stuff was building towards York Hall, but the matches presented felt big enough for this show – especially considering that this was show one for Rev Pro here, this has to go down as a success. As it stands, Rev Pro have no follow-up dates in Stevenage – something I’d expect to be remedied sooner rather than later – and if the crowds keep up the way they are, then this could quickly become a #2 venue for the promotion going forward.